2023 Congregational Meeting Q&A Follow Up
1) What’s the plan for pastoral hiring?
Our focus over the past few months has been clarifying and solidifying our interim leadership structure. You can view the interim org chart in the following blog post: https://www.damascus.com/post/interim-senior-pastor-announcement. Over the summer, our Elders and leader circles will be discussing where we want to be in the next few years and how that should shape the profile of our next pastoral hire. We will kick-off the process this fall and will provide updates as we move forward.
2) What’s happening to our second campus plans?
A second campus has always been part of the original vision as a vehicle for missional outreach- to reach this growing region with the hope of Christ. Given we’re in a season of leadership transition, the timeline of this is currently on pause. Our leadership teams are still committed to this missional outreach but a more urgent priority is pastoral hiring and moving forward with some of our campus development plans
3) Why are some areas of the budget increasing when their YTD spending didn’t come close to that of this year’s budget?
The budget year-to-date provided showed actual expenses through April. The budget year is not done yet and many expenses end up being spent/reported in May and June. This is especially true in missions, youth ministry and children's ministry where we have some large end of school and summer programs. Some of these expenses could be larger one-time expenses and some are regular expenses for events in the later part of the fiscal year.
4) I’d be interested in knowing what the roles of different leaders are. Also, are we looking to hire a senior pastor and an associate pastor?
See question #1 for the link to view the interim org chart which provides on overview of key staff leadership roles. We recognize that we are down multiple pastoral roles on staff. Over the summer, our Elders and leader circles will be determining what pastoral hire to pursue next. Updates will be provided as we make progress.
5) Budgeted revenues for current year at $3.8M. Budget revenues for next year at $3.47M. What is the decrease of $238K in revenue based upon?
While budgeted FY23 revenue was $3.8M, actual revenues for FY23 are estimated to be ~$3.5M. Revenue projections for FY24 were conservative and to be slightly lower than what we expect to raise in FY23. Our funds on-hand are being held in safe bank accounts and U.S. backed bonds, which are currently generating $18,000 in monthly interest income.
6) In the spirit of transparency, why isn’t there a breakdown of staff salaries?
The Human Capital Committee (HCC), sub committee of the Trustee Board, partners with the Executive Director to manage staff compensation. The personnel budget is approved by the FOC and Trustee Board. Below is a break down of salaries by employee category:
*Doesn’t include FICA or benefits
8) Was there a major decline of revenues during the COVID years?
No, we did not experience a major decline in revenues during the COVID years. God graciously provided through the generosity of His people. Much of this was due to the fact that the ALL IN generosity journey was still in-progress and our congregation generously gave at elevated levels.
9) Where is the new campus to be located?
Please read question #2 for information on the status of a second campus launch. The future campus location is not decided yet but we are considering the Frederick City area given 20% of attendees live there and to place ourselves proximate to helping meet the physical needs of our surrounding communities.
10) Our childcare budget is not fully used (it seems). Please comment on the provision of childcare going forward.
Coming off COVID, we’re finding that childcare for classes and events in the evenings isn’t utilized very highly. This has led to less expense incurred. We have found for parents of young children in particular that online small groups later in the evening work well. We will continue to explore ways we can provide childcare to allow parents to take steps of growth.
11) Why is the FY24 total missions budget significantly more than the FY23 spending – even through the FY23 budgeted amount was not spent?
Many of our missions trips have most of their spending in the spring. Our South Africa mission generally sends their support in late May, and our Honduras, Germany and Johnstown trips for the summer have many spring expenses as supplies are purchased for mission projects. Our India and Puerto Rico trips have varied as to when they take place, so their spending is more complete for budget this year.
12) Why was the budget for translation, interpretation, events cut from $15,000 to $5,000?
We were previously utilizing an outside service provider to translate our 11:15 service into Spanish through an app. We weren’t pleased with the quality of translation and utilization of this translation was very small. So, we eliminated the Spanish translation expense for this year and will re-assess whether this is something we pursue in the future. We’re very grateful for all of the effort of our Hispanic ministry team. We have men’s and women’s Spanish speaking small groups and those can be found at www.damascus.com/groups . In regards to accessibility, we offer ASL during the 11:15 worship service and closed captioning with the live stream.
13) While the church leadership is making plans for the future, how are women and people of color being represented?
We desire to create an environment where people of all backgrounds are welcomed and can walk and worship together as one community and offer a credible witness of God’s love for all people. The DRCC multi-year vision was shared with the congregation during a message series in fall 2022 and the vision was represented by the acronym H.E.A.L. The “L” stands for “loving and leading with a diverse and multi-ethnic congregation.” Our Elders and leaders are committed to growing in this area and are developing plans to move this forward. We are open to input and suggestions!
14) Please explain the ~$4000 increase in Payroll & Benefits Administration (assuming this is not increase in salaries).